Jonathan Rea sent an early warning to his World Superbike rivals that another weekend of domination could be on the cards by setting the pace in Friday practice at Imola. The Ulsterman, who holds a 50 point advantage over Leon Haslam at the top of the standings, led a Kawasaki 1-2 this afternoon with Tom Sykes in close company while Ducati appear the likeliest challengers to the powerful ZX-10Rs.
The Aruba.it Ducati squad are boosted this weekend by the return of Davide Giugliano after his pre-season testing injury and the Italian was straight back on the pace, finishing the morning session just two tenths shy of his teammate Chaz Davies in second spot. Giugliano also shone in the afternoon, heading into the final five minutes on top of the pile but Kawasaki would assert their authority in the closing stages, Rea pipping the no.34 Panigale by a quarter of a second.
Sykes looked on course to challenge his teammate on his final lap of the afternoon but an error at the Variante Bassa saw him finish 0.173s adrift in second. Giugliano held on to third while FP1 pacesetter Davies tumbled to fourth on a 1:47.686, three tenths down.
Leon Haslam leads the chasing pack once again on the Aprilia RSV4 while Alex Lowes impressed to complete the top six on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, three seconds faster than his teammate Randy de Puniet. Ayrton Badovini was seventh fastest for BMW ahead of David Salom and Leandro Mercado while Sylvain Guintoli finished the day in tenth, giving him hope of avoiding another nerve-jangling experience in SP1.
ACERBIS ITALIAN ROUND: FRIDAY PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION
|1||65. Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:47.344|
|2||66. Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1:47.517|
|3||34. Davide Giugliano||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:47.582|
|4||7. Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team||1:47.686|
|5||91. Leon Haslam||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:48.054|
|6||22. Alex Lowes||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:48.660|
|7||86. Ayrton Badovini||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK||1:48.729|
|8||44. David Salom||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:49.073|
|9||36. Leandro Mercado||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||1:49.201|
|10||1. Sylvain Guintoli||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike Team||1:49.296|
|11||15. Matteo Baiocco||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:49.403|
|12||84. Michel Fabrizio||Ducati||Althea Racing||1:49.601|
|13||60. Michael van der Mark||Honda||PATA Honda World Superbike Team||1:49.651|
|14||2. Leon Camier||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||1:49.850|
|15||81. Jordi Torres||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils||1:49.966|
|16||40. Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team Go Eleven||1:50.126|
|17||59. Niccolo Canepa||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:51.059|
|18||14. Randy de Puniet||Suzuki||Voltcom Crescent Suzuki||1:52.139|
|19||10. Imre Toth||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:52.580|
|20||23. Christophe Ponsson||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1:53.138|
|21||75. Gabor Rizmayer||BMW||BMW Team Toth||1:53.813|
|22||51. Santiago Barragan||Kawasaki||Grillini SBK Team||1:53.852|